The women’s U52kg division saw a really exciting final between great rivals at the Grand Slam in Tokyo. In the past, Abe was able to throw Shishime for ippon in their IJF World Tour encounters. Prior to this, they had fought five times, with Abe winning every time.
But Shishime has clearly done her homework. She fought tactically and forced Abe into Golden Score.
Abe was not able to come in with her usual attacks and instead, relied on tactical attacks as well. Perhaps she had learned a thing or two about tactical fighting from watching her brother, Hifumi Abe, outmaneuver Joshiro Maruyama in their recent match-ups.
There was no real attempt to get in a big throw by either Abe or Shishime, with both going for strategic attacks at the edge of the mat.
As the match hit Golden Score, it was obvious it would eventually be settled by penalties.
Shishime was at a disadvantage as she was already down by two shidos (for dropping and for defensive gripping). Abe had picked up a shido for passivity but still had a shido to spare.
In Golden Score, when a player is able to put in three consecutive attacks without any answer from her opponent, a shido is usually given.
Abe clearly knew how to play that game and launched a series of three solid, consecutive attacks. And with that, Shishime was given hansoku-make.
It was a solid win for Abe but Shishime did give her a good fight, better than ever before. It will be interesting to see how they do the next time they meet up.
This article was originally published on www.judoinside.com